We had our first Malay Lacewing (pictured below) emerge this week, with its beautiful fluted wing edge, and many others followed along with plenty of Tree Nymphs (the balck and white butterfly pictured lower down the page), Blue Morphos and Giant Orange Tips. The snowy weather has been a challenge as optimum conditions for butterfly flight are bright and sunny and around 26-28°C so for those who dared to venture out in the snow a little more spotting skill and patience was required to spot all of the species (about 26 different ones) we have at the moment.
We did have another visitor to the Glasshouse this week but this particular visitor was rivalling the butterflies for a bit of attention... I arrived in the Tropical Zone one morning to perform the usual checks of the emerging cages and did a double-take when, where I would normally expect to see a Blue Morpho or Asian Swallowtail, I saw a little mouse.
My movements scared it and it ran off, but it was confident enough to return later and I was more sleuth-like and managed to capture it on camera. It wasn’t long before it scared again and sat on a nearby leaf before disappearing. Maybe not as striking as a tropical butterfly but it definitely got points for cuteness. Sadly, he's not been seen since.
Because of the low light levels we have upped our pupae numbers from 700 to 900 this week to try to add even more butterflies into the Tropical Zone and keep them visible to visitors – this involved a lot of time spent sticking pupae onto canes, but was definitely preferable to pot washing, another winter job I would probably be doing if I wasn’t sticking pupae.
If you come to see the butterflies this week and it is a cold, dull day be prepared to spend a little more time spotting than usual. There are plenty of butterflies in the Glasshouse – and if you look carefully you will find them in all their glorious shapes and colours.